This private, Jesuit, social justice university is located atop lone mountain and costs a pretty penny to attend, especially for a four year undergraduate degree with housing and food.  There aren’t many students like Heather Hamilton, who made her way up through extreme poverty and earned enough in grants and fellowships to afford her place there.  But thank goodness she did.   And while she was the only kid on her floor who didn’t have a laptop freshman year, her sense of purpose was mightier than any MAC or PC.  An environmental studies major and an Urban Agriculture minor, Heather sees gardens as a way to heal the world and bring equality back to our city.


From a small beach town near San Luis Obispo, Heather always knew she had to overachieve to get anywhere in life.  Not just smart, she also wears her heart on her sleeve.  We found her taking notes in Kezar Gardens today for a garden design course and pragmatically measuring the site one white tennis shoe at a time.  She told us how she passed the garden on the 71 bus, saw the “save Kezar Gardens” banner from the window and decided to come down to see what she could do to help.  Often challenged by her own economic status, living and studying in SF can be a frustrating experience for her, but gardens help to ease the way.  She is empowered by growing food and sharing it with others as well as sustaining herself.  Her garden at USF is her spiritual guide, teaching her temperance and helping manage the variety of challenges she constantly faces working to complete her degree.


Check out this short animation of Heather’s walk through Kezar Gardens and hear an excerpt of our interview with her today.  We are so proud of her accomplishments so far and hope she does decide to go on to law school (she’s considering it).  We need more people like her in San Francisco!  Thank you, Heather, for sharing your story and helping us save this amazing community space where people can connect and benefit not only from ecology but humanity as well.